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Congress leaders decry anti-Sonia tirade

By Our Special Correspondent

TIRUPATI. May. 19. Congress activists today burnt the effigies of the Bharatiya Janata Party trio-- Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj and Uma Bharathi-- for their anti-Sonia tirade which they alleged forced Sonia Gandhi to decline the Prime Ministership yesterday in a dramatic development.

The cadres which gathered at the busy Nalagukalla Mandapam junction launched a scathing attack on the BJP and its leaders for once again raising the `foreigner' issue against Sonia Gandhi and said that it reflected their scant respect for democracy and elections which gave Sonia Gandhi a massive mandate declaring indirectly that her nationality was a non-issue. Among those that participated in the demonstrations were the PCC secretary, B. Karunakar Reddy, the local town Congress president, P. Venkatesh and others.

CUDDAPAH: The Cuddapah MLA, Md. Ahmedullah, asserted on Wednesday that he was prepared to sacrifice his life, if the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, did not accept the Prime Ministership.

Congress leaders staged a protest rally from the DCC office to the Seven Roads Junction in Cuddapah town under the aegis of the District Congress Committee and burnt the effigy of Sushma Swaraj. The Congress functionaries raised slogans against the BJP leaders, Ms. Swaraj, Uma Bharathi, Vajpayee, Advani and Govindacharya, for their vituperative campaign on Sonia Gandhi's nativity.

The Municipal vice-chairperson, Bola Padmavathi, Youth Congress leader, K. Mallikarjuna Murthy, the NSUI district president, B. Kishore Kumar, the DCC secretaries, M. Navaneeswara Reddy and Ghouse Peer, the municipal councillors, M.K. Ratna Kumari and V. Chinnaiah, also took part in the protest.

NELLORE: Congress activists staged a demonstration in Nellore town urging Sonia Gandhi, to reconsider her decision not to be the Prime Minister.

Led by the Nellore MLA-elect, Anam Vivekananda Reddy, a large number of functionaries including women participated in the procession from the A.C. Subba Reddy statue centre up to Ambedkar statue centre. They carried placards, denouncing the Bharateeya Janata Party (BJP)'s tirade against Ms. Gandhi, pertaining to her so-called `foreign origin' issue.

At a public meeting held at the V.R. Centre, Mr. Reddy, lashed out at the BJP and Sangh Parivar, for their uncharitable remarks against Ms. Gandhi and reminded them that the country had given a massive mandate in favour of the Congress party. Also Ms. Gandhi has been elected leader of the party in a democratic manner.

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